Parents and child advocates in Australia are fuming after an inquiry into sexualisation of the child market refused to call for tougher regulations. Highly sexualised images linked with children’s products, advertising and other media are causing concern in many countries and parent groups hoped for more effective controls as a result of a Senate committee of inquiry. What they have got is a recommendation that a national sex education programme should be devised to teach children about “healthy relationships” and help them “deconstruct” sexualised images.
For once parents are given recognition, but they are pretty much on their own when it comes to protecting their children from the impact of sexy advertising, television, magazines, music videos, Bratz dolls, Girlfriend magazine and the like. “[I]t is the primary responsibility of parents to make decisions about what their children see, hear, read and purchase,” says the committee’s report. It adds, “These parental decisions can have a significant impact on the market for sexualising products and services.” The committee suggests that industry can do more in the way of self-regulation, but parenting groups say industry groups would have done so by now if they were willing to address the issues.
“This is a call to industry to shape up or we’ll get tougher,” said Lyn Allison, the senator who instigated the inquiry. Sex education, however, would help children “deal with” images, she said. “People link the resilience of children to their education about relationships and sex.” ~ Sydney Morning Herald, June 27